This week La Sorbonne, Université de Paris IV hosted the International Workshop on Annotation for Collaboration, sponsored by CNRS, the French National Research Council. KMi's Simon Buckingham Shum presented his research to the gathering which brought together researchers from across Europe. The presentation outlined the use of lightweight discourse semantics to add a new dimension to annotations on multimedia documents, but providing coherent structure and computational services over annotations which grow into a discourse space.
The talk framed collaborative annotation as collective discourse leading to collective intelligence, grounded in demonstrations of key technologies from the Hypermedia Discourse research programme that Simon leads: D3E, Compendium and ScholOnto. D3E (Digital Document Discourse Environment) generates discussion threads annotated onto each section of a document, to support web-based peer review and commentary. Compendium provides hypermedia concept mapping grounded in a dialogic notation (IBIS), and has, for instance, been used to annotate document corpora on the Iraq Debate. ScholOnto provides tools to annotate scholarly publications with semantic concepts and links, which render the literature as a searchable, visualizable network of ideas, claims, arguments and evidence.
The presentation generated much interest, including immediate requests for the tools. D3E and Compendium are freely available with source code. A demonstration ScholOnto server is available, including recordings of the system in use.